FOSSIL CREEK, AZ – Lower Fossil Creek Falls – July 2018

FOSSIL CREEK WILD AND SCENIC RIVER – Lower Fossil Creek Falls – July 2018

We wanted to visit the Lower Fossil Creek Falls, so we obtained a permit that allowed us access to Forest Road 708 from Highway 260 southeast of Camp Verde and a parking spot at one of the 8 parking lots accessible from the west side.  There were two forest rangers at the junction of Highway 260 and Forest Road 708 who inspected the printout of our permit for the Fossil Creek Wild and Scenic River Wilderness.  We obtained the permit for $10/car on the website several days prior to going.

The Forest Road 708 is dirt, with washboard and rocks.  It is a bumpy ride.  Depending on traffic, vehicle, driver, passengers, this 14-plus-mile drive can take 20-50 minutes.  I do not like this drive, but the reward of waterfalls, whirlpools, clear water, rope swings, grotto, cliffs, and caves is worth the drive.

I always take goggles and watershoes.


We visited the lower waterfall (Lower Fossil Creek Falls) first, as we passed by a rope swing on the way, knowing that being early to the waterfall allows more exclusive access to the areas of play.

Lower Fossil Creek Falls
Lower Fossil Creek Falls
  • We went in the Lower Grotto (east side, behind the waterfall) and then
  • We climbed in the Upper Grotto (behind and in the waterfall (west side).
Lower Fossil Creek Falls waterfall
The Upper Grotto

Then, it happened!

  • The Waterfall Slide with Shamu.
Rex Kuhn Lower Fossil Creek Falls waterfall
A Whale of a Time!

No animals were harmed in the following activity.

It was not the most graceful ride, but I landed it and Shamu survived another landing.


This is one of my favorite features at Fossil Creek.  The water is a very pretty blue, as the water is about 8-feet deep in this pool of swirling water (the deeper, the bluer – same holds true in Havasu Creek and the Little Colorado River).  Use a float or go floatless.  Either way, the water will whirl you clockwise as long as you desire.

Fossil Creek Whirlpool
Relaxing in the Fossil Creek Whirlpool.


I got tossed.  The current won.  I have scratches and abrasions as proof and as a reminder to respect the current.  There is a section of creek that is between two small waterfalls (between the Lower Fossil Creek Falls and the Rope Swing) where the water is calm, then swift and tumultuous, and then calm.  Next time that I go to the Lower Waterfall, I will take a floatie for this section.  My friends exited after the initial calm section and before the Tumbler.  They remain unscathed.


Everyone had their turn on the rope swing, and did it again, and again.  Can you have too much rope swinging?

Rope Swing Fossil Creek
Tyler hanging on . . .


A family of 40+ monopolized this area.  I stopped in for a quick check on the status of the rope swing at the Infinity Pool.  No invite to join the family for lunch.  🙁   Remnants of rope are way up high on the branches of a large and tall tree.


This is one of the most underrated spots of all Fossil Creek.  Easy access.  Big air!  A cliff for everyone.

Cliff jumping Fossil Creek
Jumping in at Fossil Creek, Arizona.

Affiliate links:  The use of the following links to purchase items provides a commission to the owner of (for referring you to their web site).

The price of such items is independent of these links, that is, the use of these links does not effect the price of purchased item(s).



Leave a Comment